Hualien–Taitung Line electrification completed

A project to electrify Taiwan’s Hualien–Taitung Line has been completed, reducing travel times between Taipei and Taitung to three-and-a-half hours.

Work began to electrify the line in 2009. The project, which has increased the maximum line speed from 110 km/h to 130 km/h, was expected to take seven years to complete.

The €622 million project covers 166.1 kilometres of railway from Hualien Station to Zhiben Station. As well as electrifying the entire line, the project has included double-tracking notorious bottlenecks, four new four-track tunnels and other infrastructure improvements.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou attended a special ceremony at Taitung station on June 28. He spoke about some of the challenges the project has faced, including the poor conditions experienced while constructing the new Ziqiang Tunnel.

Other sites were battered by typhoons and heavy rains throughout delivery.

Taiwan Railways Administration will operate a trial service until July 15 at which point the operator expects to have received the last of 17 new Puyuma Express (pictured) trains which are set to replace the route’s ageing DR2700 diesel multiple-units.